Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gary Gene & The Kounts

Gary Zaskoda was a senior at El Campo High School when he started singing with a group called The Kounts. This was 1962. He was the oldest in the band, being one or two years older than the rest of the guys. They made their debut at the schools talent show.
After performing at the El Campo town fair, they were noticed by KULP radio DJ Jan May, who approached the band about being their manager. He soon got the band to head to ACA recording studio in Houston, and convinced local record label baron Bennie Hess to release their first record on his Space ("out of this world sound") imprint.

The front of ACA studios where The Kounts (and 100's of other TX groups) recorded.


"Do You Love Me"

The band became quite popular locally from their live appearances and the added boost of Jan May's sponsorship of their recordings on the radio.
They eventually changed their name to Gary Gene & The Kounts inspired by the names of older local favorites like BJ Thomas & The Triumphs and Roy Head & The Traits.
They recorded and released two further 45 singles: One for Charlie Booth's Spinner label "Do The Tiger" b/w "Over The Mountain". The former song was an upbeat R&B flavored dance number inspired by the Exon commercial for "Put A Tiger In Your Tank" that was appearing on TV then. The last single was on a one-off label called Jabet, which was named after a combination of Jan (May) and his wife Betty's names.
The band folded around 1964.


Kenneth Moore - Drums
Patrick Krenek - Trumpet
Andrew Dittert - Trumpet (later replaced by future Barons member Frank Sebesta on organ)
Mike Sallee - Trombone
Mario Bustos - Bass
Dora Bustos - Backing vocals
Ed Tenant - Rhythm Guitar (later replaced by Eddie Van Hoesen)
Larry Everett - Lead Guitar
Gary Zaskoda - Vocals

"Do The Tiger"

"Fool In Your Sight"

Performing at tiny village venue: Hillje Hall

Thanks to Gary Zaskoda!

1 comment:

  1. Good info, and this is the first photo of the outside of any of ACA's locations any has seen. It appears this was the Fannin Street location (1957-64).